12 years of Ilaputi-A A +A
Friday, May 9, 2014
NOT everyone may know the story, but as this restaurant was just starting out, people would say “Asa ta kaon?” to which their friends would reply, “Ila puti,” referring to proprietor Jan Rodriguez’s place (and complexion).
From a humble 35-seat carenderia across USC Talamban, Ilaputi has become a favorite dining spot in one of the city’s prime locations, IT Park. Some may say Jan is lucky to have lasted this long in the local restaurant industry, but it’s passion, not luck, that has made the restaurant a success for 12 years and running. He started the business on his own from scratch, and with hard work, made it into the bustling restaurant that it is today. In wanting to give people a delightful experience at a low cost, Jan offers customers flavorful food, good music and laid-back ambiance.
Jan’s passion for cooking started out ordinarily enough. It was 12 midnight in New Jersey in 1999, when he was watching Mario Battali on the food channel. In a burst of inspiration, Jan grabbed some ingredients and didn’t stop cooking until 3 a.m. When he returned from the US in 2001, cooking for the family soon became a passion he was encouraged to share outside of his own kitchen.
“Cooking is an expression of creativity,” Jan says, and having Ilaputi allows him to tie his interests together. Many of his dishes were inspired by his family and travels. He also likes doing interior design, so he was able to incorporate his preference for neutral colors into Ilaputi’s relaxed space.
“It’s very good value for money, considering that everything in the kitchen is made from scratch,” says Jan of his price points, which average at about P250 for a generous portion. Puti’s Platos, classic Asian soul food, are about P200 each. The menu offers food inspired by different types of cuisine, from Filipino to Japanese to pasta, all with Jan’s unique twist to them. One of his favorites, for example, is the Vietcondobo sandwich, which is a Vietnamese take on a Filipino classic. Having a diverse menu means people with different preferences can all find something to enjoy at Ilaputi.
It’s this understanding of flavors that work surprisingly well together and knowing what pleases the Cebuano palate that has let Ilaputi celebrate its 12th anniversary of serving food for the soul. The restaurant is open 24 hours a day and is located at the ground floor of the Asia Premiere building in IT Park.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 10, 2014.